Fair Hearing Resources

Effectively Searching OAH's Fair Hearing Decision Archive

Article ID: 9
Last updated: 06 May, 2017

by Gene Doyle, LMSW

The Fair Hearing Decision Archive of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) contains redacted copies of all Fair Hearing Decisions, which have been issued since November 2010. As of May 5, 2017, OTDA's Fair Hearing Decision Archive contains 653,785 decisions.

OTDA's site includes a Google search engine and allows the user to select a range of dates for the search. The site also contains a link to Google's search tips.

Google offers a "proximity" search, which is not found in its search tips. Proximity searching is a way to look for two or more words or phrases that occur within a certain number of words from each other.

The Google proximity operator is the capitalized word AROUND followed by the number of words in proximity in parentheses: AROUND(n) where n is the number of words between the set of words or phrases.

The proximity operator can be very helpful in narrowing your search. For example, suppose you are looking for decisions that have found a notice to be void because of some inadequacy.

You could conduct a simple search by entering in the search box the words: notice void. However, you may find decisions, which contain the word "void" not in relation to a notice but to something else, like a "voided check" or "to void a trust."

To ensure that you only find decisions involving notices that are void, enter these words in the search box: notice AROUND(10) void. This search will only find decisions in which the word "notice" is within 10 words of "void."

If you want to find decisions, which concluded that an appellant's failure to comply with a work requirement was not willful, use quotations around the words "not willful" in the search box. Without the quotation marks, your search will find every decision that includes those two words no matter how far apart from each other.

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Article ID: 9
Last updated: 06 May, 2017
Revision: 9
Views: 0
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